July 28, 2023

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Is there anything better on a hot day than stepping into the cool shade?

The tree canopy on Summit Avenue has been a welcome oasis more than ever this week. Here's a fun science note: Trees provide shade, yes, plus additional cooling through "transpiration" or releasing cool vapor through their leaves. It's one more reason to love and protect our urban tree canopy.

And now on to the issue of the month -- the newly proposed 1% sales tax in Saint Paul that will be on the November ballot. We break down various viewpoints here, starting with the City.

 Saint Paul City Council Voted 6-1 to Put Sales Tax Question on November Ballot - Don’t buy it! 


The city position:

Mayor Melvin Carter's proposal to raise St. Paul's sales tax by 1% has received mixed feedback. The proposal aims to generate an additional $1 billion over two decades for the maintenance of roads and parks. The mayor argues that neglecting road maintenance in the past leaves them with no choice but to make significant changes now for the future.

Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce position:

Amanda Duerr, Vice President of Public Affairs at the St Paul Chamber stated on July 19, "If voters authorize this additional one percent we will then have a local sales tax of 9.875 percent, which will be the highest in the state, and this is coming after a 15 percent property tax levy increase in 2022."

"We’re bordered by several other communities where it would be just as easy to go into one of those communities to do your shopping."


Council Member Jane Prince's position and why she cast the only dissenting vote as explained on her Facebook page 7.19.23:

“At today's city council meeting, I confirmed that the mayor's one percent sales tax will not be used for the upgrade of residential streets, to fill potholes or cover their maintenance. And it will raise our Saint Paul sales tax to 9.875%.

The sales tax projects are detailed on this map. And while I won't argue that these are important projects, voters need to understand what they are voting for. Your property taxes will continue to fund the maintenance of your neighborhood streets. To provide better street maintenance on your residential street will require a property tax increase."

Jane also shared more of the backstory in a letter published in yesterday's Star Tribune.

SOS position --- we have more questions.

  • Would the 1% tax be tapped for a combined Summit Ave Bike Trail and road reconstruction project to add to the $100M maintenance backlog?
  • Or will the bill be handed down in the form of higher property taxes and homeowner assessments?

These questions are yet to be answered.

The fight continues  

No sales tax hike for bike trails

Send your comments to the Metropolitan Council and its advisory body, the Parks and Open Space Commission. All the contacts are on the website – scroll down to the Met Council section: https://www.savesummitavenue.org/contact-city-hall

Next Steps 

August 7 - 4:00 pm

Metropolitan Council Community Development Committee

Room 1A, 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101


August 23 - 4:00 pm

Full Metropolitan Council receives the advisory groups' recommendations and votes.

Council Chambers, 390 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101

Excel Energy is working on Summit Avenue near the Fairview Avenue intersection. Lots of new saplings have recently been planted on this median, but bulldozing and trenching all around the trunks put these young trees at risk. It's disheartening to see the city's supposed commitment to valuing trees fall short

Please consider joining the cause with financial support. Click here for our GoFundMe page. Thank you!!

Scroll to the bottom of the home page to sign your name.

3341 petition signers and still growing.

And while you are there, check out our new section:

Letters to the Editor

ABOUT SOS (Save Our Street)
Save Our Street is a citizen group that seeks to educate and advocate for the preservation of the historic streetscape of Summit Avenue as a treasured St. Paul destination and a safe, tree-lined, multi-modal corridor for generations to come.

SOS Steering Committee Chair: Gary Todd [email protected] 651-470-4720

SOS Public Relations Carolyn Will [email protected] 612-414-9661